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(L,F&E 64) Instant FIre, Just Add Hate

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 64) Instant FIre, Just Add Hate

kalenath's Avatar

07.05.2012 , 04:38 AM | #1
<A planet called Shili, in the Expansion region>

“Yuck…” The quiet voice was almost inaudible over the noises of the swamp. Shili was no picnic at the best of times, and now, well… this world was just a rotten place to be. The Sith had invaded, there had been a rebellion of some kind if he recalled correctly, and the Sith as was their wont, had torn the whole place up. It had been a pretty planet, by all accounts, but now, the parts he could see were a wasteland. Of course the parts he could see were a Sith colony, and they tended to look that way no matter what.

As he made his way down towards the colony, Will Kalenath had a funny feeling. Where before he had just attributed it to a ‘gut’ reaction, now he knew it was the Force trying to tell him something. But according to the information that Amarath Shades had decoded for him, this was where the stasis pod that held Nia was to go next. He just hoped he wasn’t too late, again. It was downright disheartening to be so close on occasion, only to arrive a day or in one case an hour too late to catch the ship that carried the pod to its next destination. He knew he was being set up, but he wasn’t sure by who.

When Nia had been captured by the bounty hunter C’trask, Will had known it was going to be bad. He and the Trask clan had a history. Many Trandoshans were bounty hunters, so he had fought and killed many in his life. But the Trask clan in particular detested him, they insisted on sending waves of young lizards after him. He smiled thinly as he crept through the darkness. Having one of their renegades snatched right out from under their nose had been a massive affront to their clan honor. L’trask had been an anomaly. At Trandoshan who didn’t follow their goddess, the scorekeeper, or more accurately, a Trandoshan who didn’t follow the scorekeeper in the normal way. Oh he kept score, no question, but instead of how many kills, captures and successful hunts he had, L’trask counted how many people he had saved. And the lizard refused to carry a weapon.

Being a pacifist was never an easy life for anyone, being a pacifist Trandoshan was guaranteed to cause all kinds of problems. Will grinned as he remembered. He had been tossed semi-conscious into a dungeon on Dosh one time, he had gotten sloppy and Trandoshans had mobbed him. The lizards hadn’t had a clue who they had found sneaking around on their property, and while they checked, they had tossed him in a dungeon. When he had woken, he had been astonished to find his wounds being treated by a gentle lizard, one who introduces himself as L’trask. They had talked a bit, and Will had overcome his paranoia, especially when a group of young lizards had come in and beat L’trask. The older lizard hadn’t fought back, but Will had hurt them until L'trask had asked Will not to kill the young fools. Matter of fact, L'trask had made Will swear not to kill members of the Trask clan. . When Will escaped, he offered L’trask a ride, which the lizard had accepted gratefully. L’trask had found a home on the Stormhawk along with a whole bunch of other misfits.

The Trask clan, deprived of both a massive bounty and what they thought was a stain on their honor, had declared Will an enemy of their clan. And periodically, Will fended off attacks from Trandoshans. L’trask had asked Will not to kill his clan members, he still felt the ties of clan loyalty, even after being declared a traitor and renegade, and Will had reluctantly agreed. Truth be told, it took more skill not to kill when a squad of angry lizards was charging you. But now, the gloves had come off. L’trask, on hearing what had happened to Nia, had absolved Will of that oath.

Will hadn’t done much, truth be told, to the Trask clan before this. He had humiliated them on numerous occasions, yes, but nothing more than that. C’trask, the scum who had captured Nia, had been killed by a lightsaber, and the pod that had been in C’trask’s ship had been shipped off through various means to locals around the galaxy. He had tracked it to Coruscant, Tattooine, Bespin, Ord Mantel, Ralltir, Alderaan, the list went on and on. He had raided Sith supply ships, Hutt depots, talked to supply clerks, dealt with red tape, he was truly sick of this. But his daughter needed his help. She had been taken because of his history with the Trask clan. C’trak had wanted vengeance for the humiliations of a number of Trask clan hunters. So what if Will had taken the weapons and clothing of many of them? It wasn’t as if he had killed them… And he had to have fun somehow, didn’t he? But now, everything had changed.

Now he was no longer having fun. Now, every time he saw a Trandoshan with Trask clan markings that lizard died. He had not bothered to count how many of them he had killed, it wasn’t important. What was important was that now, he had a solid lead on the stasis pod. This was probably a trap, after all, this world was not a well known one. While it was the homeworld of the Togruta race, not many in the galaxy knew that. Olanagychew, his Wookiee oath brother, had been very unhappy at being left behind with the ship, but Will had hired Amarath Shades in good faith, he was not about to subject the girl to what was likely to happen here. If it was a trap, he should be able to get away, if he only had to worry about himself. If he had to worry about others… well, things got problematical.

He made it to the edge of the colony without problems. As he looked around, he saw Sith in large numbers, troopers, workers, slaves, so he adopted one of his best personas and stepped out of the shadows. Red hair dye and blue contact lenses would not fool a Force user, but it was incredible how many other people they would fool. He walked up to a squad sergeant and spoke in a cold tone.

“I am here to pick up a ‘special’ package for Lord Malgus. Where is your depot?” His black armor and general demeanor proclaimed him to be someone bad news, and the sergeant obviously wanted to be anywhere but where she was. Lord Malgus, the man who had destroyed the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was known figure in Sith society, and anyone who worked for the big bad Sith himself was not someone to trifle with.

“I need authorization…” She reached for her com, but froze as Will laid a hand on his blaster.

"Let me make myself clear, sergeant." Impossibly, Will’s voice was colder now. “That package is very important to some very important people. The fewer people who know about it the better. You want to activate that com, go right ahead…” Now his tone was bored.

"I... see..." The sergeant stopped in mid motion. The she slowly and carefully relaxed. “You wouldn’t happen to have orders to kill anyone who asks, would you?” Will looked at her for a moment before smiling thinly. The sergeant nodded. “Which is why I asked about the orders and not the… other. Depot is down the street to the right five blocks. Large walls and two heavy blaster turrets, you can’t miss it. The clerks are…”

Will smiled wider. He liked dealing with smart people. “Clerks…” He sighed. “They are sure to ask questions… Oh well, they will be handled. Oh and um… You might not want to be anywhere near that depot anytime in say… the next hour or two.”

The sergeant stared at him for a moment and then nodded. “Yes sir.” The sergeant saluted before turning to her men. “Lets go check the other end of town.”

One of her men spoke up. “Sergeant, we just…” A glare from the sergeant had the naysayer shutting up and the squad turned and walked away. A couple of them looked at Will, but he ignored them as he turned in the direction the sergeant had given him and started for the depot. Soon, so very soon…

<Not very nearby>

Soon, so very soon...

The black robed from sat on the floor in almost utter darkness. His breathing was regular and his body still. The only light in the room came from a small screen in front of him. He smiled a bit as he watched the screen in front of him. The strategically placed video cameras they had laid, while crude using direct wire connections instead of beamed transmissions, were almost impossible to jam or hack. The man chuckled, a dark sound.

“The balls..." The man's vocei was somewhere between awe and amusement. "The sheer, brass balls… He just walked right in…”

"Master..." Samuel knelt nearby. “He will have multiple plans.”

The sitting form sighed. “Of course he will, Samuel.” The voice turned savage. “Ravishaw!” Another form jerked from where it had been touching a still form on the floor. “Leave the kid alone. You have done enough.” The command had the other cloaked form moving away from the crumpled form that now was heard to be whimpering softly. He turned back to Samuel. “Is everything ready?”

"As ready as we can be." Samuel nodded. “Troops are in place, well back from the depot. Grun’das and his people are concealed, our people are in place…" The man who wore the face of Will Kalenath's father sighed. "Master… this is a mistake…”

"Samuel." The sitting man sighed. “What choice do we have? But with most of us here, he won’t be able to escape.” Samuel shook his head. “What?” The man asked quietly.

"I don't know." Samuel sighed. “I really don’t know. Something is very wrong. He has to know it’s a trap, so why not sneak in? Why walk in and why get the legitimate troops away from the depot? You know the sergeant will tell all her confederates. All of them will stay far away from that depot.”

"I know why." Ravishaw snickered. “You son is weak. He feels for these pathetic creatures.”

"You are an idiot." Samuel turned a fulminating glare on Ravishaw. “Yes, Will is so weak as to completely destroy the facility on Korriban, -with a nuke no less- so weak as to take Shult, Kola and all of your other apprentices… So weak…” Ravishaw drew in breath to retort and both were on their feet, glaring at each other, but both stopped when a quiet voice came.

“Enough.” Both of the angry figures in black froze in place and bowed to their master. The man in the middle sighed. “We must get into position.” He rose and forms all around the room rose with him. He stepped to the form Ravishaw had been touching and sighed as he bent over the shaking form. “Sleep boy…” He touched the form and it stilled. “We will come back for him. Take care of him, after…” With that he strode from the room and a host of robed figures followed him, leaving the still form of the boy alone in the room. Alone except for the cold bodies that lay strewn around, the bodies of his family who had never known what killed them.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.05.2012 , 04:42 AM | #2
<Twenty minutes later>

Will snorted as he entered the depot. Apparently, one of the soldiers had a friend who worked in the depot. There was not a soul to be seen. But his ‘gut’ was screaming at him. He stood for a moment, just inside the depot and surveyed it. The Sith were nothing if not predictable. They might call it efficient to build every single gun, building and ship the exact same way, Will thought it was lack of imagination. Well, that or fear of being stepped on by a higher power. The two blaster turrets were obviously nonfunctional, both looked to have been stripped for parts sometime in the past. The building he was standing in was fairly small, mainly an administrative facility. The filing cabinets were probably full of documents, but he was not here for information. He moved through the building, noting a few things that seemed bit out of place. The remains of some clerk’s lunch sat behind a desk, concealed from a passing supervisor. One room had a desk overturned, and the marks of a blaster on the wall. It was impossible to tell how long ago it had happened, but it looked fairly recent. It looked like a supervisor’s office of some kind. But where was the supervisor? Any Sith underling not on his or her post had better have a very good explanation or heads would literally roll. He stepped into the office look the scene over and then he stopped in his tracks.

“Kark me…”

He stared at the small pool of liquid that had obviously missed someone’s cleanup. Barely a hands breadth wide, it sat near a wall, under part of a small table. Spilled liquids in offices were nothing new, but this liquid was not a cleaner or someone’s drink. No, this pool glistened in way he had seen far too often in his life. It was blood. But that was not what made him stop in his tracks. What made him stop was the mark in the middle of the small pool. He hadn’t seen that kind of track since he had been on Tralus, but he had heard stories from people he trusted. He hadn’t gotten them all…

He shook himself slowly and checked his gear. Everything worked. He stepped carefully now as he went further into the building and his blaster was in hand. His breathing slowed as he saw other signs, small one. A hole gouged in a desk, signs of recent cleaning, a few new patches of paint. Every so often, he would step into the shadows to look at something. He checked every room, not expecting, now, to find any bodies. The enemies he faced here likely had taken all of them, alive and dead, to have lunch themselves. He stepped into the Sith armory and smiled as he holstered his blaster and opened it. He snickered a bit; they never changed the codes on the armories. He checked the readouts on a heavy repeater, disassembled it quickly, and then nodded as he reassembled it. The disassembly, checking and reassembly took maybe five minutes, and he felt every second of them, but the pistols he had wouldn’t penetrate chitin very well.

He had come ready to face Sith, his sonic blaster and disruptor would pierce most shielding, and were much more difficult to block with a lightsaber than a blaster, but didn’t have the punch he needed here and now. Now he needed firepower. He stepped through the armory, picking up items almost at random. Part of him hoped they would attack him here, and when he stepped out of the armory he sighed in disappointment. He hadn’t really expected them to. It would have been stupid for them to attack him near a stock of ammunition and weapons, and his opponents were anything but stupid. He knew what he faced now, he would not assume anything, but he had to see if the pod was here. Even if it was a trap, maybe Nia was here…

He took it slow and careful, aware now, of an oppressive gloom that seemed to seep through the very air. He remembered it. It had not been that long ago that he had felt it before. When he had gone into that nest of horrors to try and save a friend he had not really expected to survive, let alone kill the queen bug.

This made three times he had faced this race. Once over twenty years ago, shortly after he had joined Special Forces, he had been posted to a team investigating disappearances on Tralus. Most of that team had died fighting beside two Jedi when they had discovered a young woman with no memory. Jina had been so scared of the team, Will remembered, but then again, she had been a blank slate at the time. The bugs had wiped her mind completely. Two of the team had vanished that night and when the team had tracked the snatchers, well, that had been ugly. Even a lifetime’s worth of war and pain hadn’t dulled the sheer horror of finding comrades eaten. One had still been breathing when they had found him, part of his body gone. From him, they had discovered the truth behind the disappearances, and then they had found Jina and run like hell. The fighting withdrawal from that cave had been a waking nightmare, creatures out of some twisted writers imagination leaping from the darkness to grab and drag away comrades, friends. A nightmare walk of firing, moving, and firing more. Finally, they had reached the open air and he had sealed the cave with a thermal detonator, but… he had known, it was no victory, just a delaying action.

Then Jina’s mess… He loved that Jedi woman, but she sure got into some hairy situations. She had gone looking for her past and wound up back in the clutches of the bugs, if not for Will and the help of some unlikely allies, including a Sith of all things, Jina would have become a brood mother for that race. But then he had been so sure that this time he had exterminated the colony. A good sized baradium bomb should have done the trick. Apparently not.

Will shook himself, this was pointless. The past was the past. He moved off, alone, but not unobserved.

<A ready room, a block away>

The figures watching the screen tensed as Will came into sight again. The concealed cameras had lost him for a time, and now… The gun he was carrying was anything but small and it moved with professional skill from point to point. One of the figures watching spoke softly.

“What the…? Where did he get that? Oh this is going to be fun.” The man giggled, an unsettling sound.

"He is a soldier, he knows guns." Samuel shook his head and sighed. “It’s a supply depot, Ravishaw. He has a way with armories, if you don’t remember what happened to Kola. At least they didn’t have any tanks in there. Of all the places we could have picked… Force only knows what else he picked up…”

"Agreed." The master spoke. “This is where the pod wound up, anywhere else would have made him instantly suspicious. Samuel… Why would he pick up a heavy repeater? It makes no sense fighting a Force user with a heavy repeater… Sheer weight of fire might get through a lightsaber wielder’s guard, but… The lightsaber wielder is not going to just stand there while he does that…”

"A heavy..." Samuel froze. “Oh no… Grun’das, somehow he has figured out Grun’das is there.” Samuel shook his head. “Master, we should fall back, our options become thinner, we can grab him when he is not prepared…”

"Ah?" Ravishaw chortled. “Now we see your true colors, Samuel. We should run away, is that it?”

"No." Samuel met the man’s laughter with an icy glare. “I didn’t say that. What I said, is that if he is ready for an ambush by Grun’das, our options just got a lot slimmer if we want him alive.”

"Oh?" Ravishaw smiled widely. “Is that the only reason?”

Samuel looked at him, and then at their master, who sighed and spoke evenly. “This bickering is pointless. Can you give me a reason to fall back? A reason to abandon all the prep work we have done?”

"No." Samuel shook his head. “Just a feeling that we are missing something. Something important. He is at the depot…” He point to the screen. “What is thy bidding, my master?” There was an edge to Samuel’s words now.

"Samuel..." The hooded figure of his master sighed. “Don’t start the Sith crap, Samuel.” He keyed a control on his wristcom. “All forces… Move in, slow and careful. Leave no holes for him to get out through, troops, set weapons for stun. We need him alive.”

The black clad forms filed out, all but the hooded form and Samuel. The hooded form spoke again. “Do you want to stay here? This is going to be hard no matter what.”

"I don't want to do this at all, but..." Samuel shook his head. “No, if he sees Ravishaw or a stranger in black first, he is going to shoot. And then we are left with one option, overpower him, which will hurt. Maybe if he sees me, I can talk to him… Maybe…” Samuel’s voice was dubious. “If only Ravishaw hadn’t sent Nia off like that…”

"I know." The cloaked form shook his head. “Ravishaw didn’t have many alternatives at that point. Imperial intelligence wouldn’t have overlooked something the size of a stasis pod. I wish we had been able to catch it, but the path it was sent was too convoluted. Shult was a genius, too bad about him.”

"This is..." Samuel shook his head. “Something is not right here. I know it, but I can’t figure it out. I need to be there.” His master patted him on the shoulder and they left the room in silence.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.05.2012 , 04:48 AM | #3
<The depot>

Will saw the pod first thing as he exited the building. Imperial outdoor depots, come to think of it, all Imperial depots, were generally laid out the same, with the newer or more expensive equipment up front. That way, the things that were more likely to be used were close at hand. The stasis pod was smack dab in front of the door. He looked at it for a moment, then shook his head and started a slow circuit of the large yard, his heavy repeater arcing from one shadow to the next, ready to fire. If Nia was in the pod, he wouldn’t do her any good at all if he became the bugs’ next meal. And if she wasn’t, well…

His gut was screaming at him now, but he ignored it. He made his way past airspeeders, ground speeders, and a pair of walkers. This part of any Sith depot was reserved for the stuff that wouldn’t fit in a building, or stuff that shouldn’t be stored a building. He smiled as he saw an explosives bunker with an ammo bunker right beside it. Typical Sith efficiency at its best, it made it very easy to get ammunition and explosives as needed. From a safety standpoint, it was the height of idiocy to have two volatile magazines right next to each other, if one went up, the other surely would. He hit the overrides and swept his repeater into firing position as the door to the ammo bunker opened. He half expected a horde of leaping alien bugs to come out, but nothing happened. He slapped something to the inside of the door and moved on to the explosives bunker. It too had nothing living inside. Another slap and he was in motion again.

He heard them before he saw them and ducked for cover as a heavily armed squad of troops in Sith armor came around a corner. Something was off about them though. He shook his head minutely and opened fire. The troops were caught in the open by firepower intended to defeat vehicle armor. Most personal armor would do exactly as much good against such raw destructive power as sheets of cardboard. Most of the troops had no time even to scream. In seconds all of the squad were down. Shouts came from elsewhere but Will was gone, moving in a sort of crouch with the repeater leading.


“What the…?” Samuel spun in place as he heard the distinctive chatter of a heavy repeater, a sound he remembered too well from his time in the Republic Military. The lack of return fire told him the situation in seconds. He made a series of hand motions and the black garbed forms moved away from him, angling to cover all potential exits. Samuel however, stayed where he was, beside his master. He was a healer by trade, not a close quarters battle specialist. He turned to his master and winced as another burst of heavy fire was heard. “This is going to cost us…”

"I know." The cloaked form sighed. “But if we can get him, it will be worth it.” They both listened as the fire stopped again. “I hope…”

<Somewhere in the shadows>

Will snarled silently as he backpedaled. He watched his step, he had thrown a bunch of explosives when they had appeared. He had managed to ambush another squad, but then a black robed form had appeared and Will had stopped firing. All he would do was give away his position. Not that the shadows would hide him from a Force user. He grinned mirthlessly as the Sith stepped forward a red lightsaber humming in hand. Will pointed the repeater at the Sith.

"Be at peace." The Sith’s voice was almost friendly. “Come friend, you will not stop me that way.”

Will grinned and his tone was savage. “I know.”

He watched with some amusement as the Sith took a step and planted a foot directly on one of the miniature mines that Will had thrown when he set his latest ambush. It wasn’t a large explosion, just enough to amputate a foot and drop the Sith to the ground screaming. Will growled as he held down his trigger for longer than was strictly necessary, reducing the Sith to a smoking pile of robes. Then he was gone again well before reinforcements could arrive.

<The main entrance>

Samuel winced as screams started in the distance, followed by another burst of heavy fire, then silence. His brother’s death rang through the Force shaking him. “Master, this is ridiculous. He can pick us off one by one, or squad by squad… I … Look out!” He shouted as something came flying into the area. It stuck to one of the troopers nearby and started to beep. Samuel started forward, but an iron hand landed on his shoulder and the unfortunate trooper was propelled into the air where the explosion of the sticky grenade did not damage to any except the unfortunate trooper. Samuel’s eyes went wide and he threw himself knocking his master backwards as fire erupted around were he and his master had been standing. Samuel darted into cover, his master likewise as an absolute torrent of blaster fire swept the area. Then it stopped. Samuel hissed in disbelief as he looked up and nothing was there except bodies. “Dammit... He is fighting a guerrilla war, he is better at this than we are!”

The cloaked form breathed hard. “I can see that. I get nothing. You?”

Samuel shook his head. “It’s like he is not there.” Samuel stiffened as another death rang through him. “Ah, we have to stop this…”

The cloaked figure nodded. “Agreed.” He keyed his com. “All personnel, fall back.”

<Another deep shadow>

Will tensed as the troops he was aiming at moved. But instead of charging him, they retreated from cover to cover. He nodded slowly. Someone on the other side had brains it would seem. He had killed two of the robed ones and a couple of squads worth of troops. He might have singed two other robed ones he had seen, but doubted it. They moved fast when shot at, he had to give them that. He stayed in the shadows. Occasionally, he saw other shadows moving, but nothing shot at him, and no one approached. He was unsurprised when he came to the entrance and found it well fortified. Troops had found cover all over the place. Even the robed ones had sought cover. He grinned, he had taught them caution at the very least. Even Sith could die when shot enough times. But he was trapped, the only way out had a whole bunch of Sith blocking it. While he might be able to make himself a hole in one of the walls around the depot, it would take time, and they would be all over him the moment he showed himself. They were clearly expecting him to attack the troops, so he decided not to oblige them.

Instead, he stayed in the shadows until he reached the stasis pod. When he did, he sat down beside it. He was in cover and had concealment from this angle. He rested the repeater on a convenient chunk of metal pointed towards the entrance and sighed. This might be a long day. He saw movement on the roof of the building and without thought, pointed the repeater at it and squeezed off a burst. The armored figure fell screaming. Screams that cut off with dreadful finality when the form hit the ground.

<A makeshift barricade at the entrance to the building>

“He is what?” Samuel couldn’t believe his ears.

"I agree, it makes no sense." The trooper shook her head. “Sir, he is just sitting there. We have no angle for a shot from here. And every time we try and get an angle, he shoots. There is no cover; I have lost four men already. Sir, we could try and rush him, get close enough to throw a stun grenade…”

"No." Samuel shook his head. “That would just get you killed.”

"One thing, sir." The trooper shook her head. “Team three, before we lost contact, they said there were things attached to the doors inside the ammo and explosives magazines.”

"Things?" Samuel felt his guts freeze. “Aw… osik…I bet I know what they were...” The trooper nodded. “Thank you, soldier, get back to your post, and keep your head down.” He turned to where several robed forms were huddled close. “Ravishaw is still out there. Idiot thinks this is a game…”

"He is insane, Samuel." The cloaked form of his master nodded. “Ravishaw is useful, but I need to know, would your son have wired the place to blow?” Samuel bit his lip and nodded. “Can you talk to him?’

"I..." Samuel blew out a deep breath. “I don’t know. He may shoot on seeing the black robes. Or he may talk. Or he might blow us all to kingdom come, I just don’t know.”

"Okay." The man in the cowl nodded. “Talk to him, but stay in cover. We can't lose you.”

<In heavy cover behind the stasis pod>

Will was bored, the Sith were obviously trying to wait him out. But he had a good position, solid cover between him and then, and… His thoughts broke off as a voice came to him. One he remembered.

“Will?” For a long moment, Will couldn’t breathe, but then he checked all around him. Maria had sent information on what Sara had encountered on Alderaan. He hadn’t believed, but now, he did. Something moved in another shadow and Will sprayed the area on general principle. “Will, talk to me…”

Will ignored the speaker, someone was trying to flank him. There! He drew a pistol and fired, not at the figure he could barely make out, but at a specific point on the ground near it. The mines he had dropped during an ambush earlier went off in sequence and the figure flew out of the shadows, rolling to avoid the fire Will was pouring at it now. He threw a pair of grenades at the Sith line to keep them honest and had the satisfaction of seeing at least two of his shots hit the black robed form which fell in a heap. Then it started moving again, scuttling along the ground and Will shot at it again but missed.

The scuttling form laughed. “Is that the best you can do…?” He knew that voice too, Ravishaw! He focused on it, but it was gone! Will snarled and rolled deeper into cover.

“Dammit Ravishaw, back off!” Came a shout from the voice so like the one Will had known from his earliest memories. “Will, Will, please… Talk to me…”

“Who are you?” Will barely recognized his own voice, as strained as it was.

“I am your father.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.05.2012 , 04:59 AM | #4
<The entrance>

For a minute, Samuel thought he had gotten through, Will was silent. Then the younger man laughed bitterly. “Oh sure you are. And the Sith Emperor I guess is my long lost brother?” The sarcasm in his words could have cut durasteel. Samuel ducked as another burst of fire came, this one unaimed, it tore up the area, but did not damage. Probably it was just to keep people’s heads down. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you Sith that your lines are kind of old? You never seem to come up with any new ones. Why don’t you say you were my father's brother's nephew's cousin's former room-mate? That makes about as much sense… I mean, how many ways can you say ‘Join me and we shall rule this galaxy Father and Son’? Might as well offer cookies. It might get you more recruits, if younger ones.”

"Ah..." Samuel sighed, this was not going well. “Will…”

"What?" Will snorted. “You expect me to take you seriously? Yeah, right.” Samuel winced as the repeater fired again, this time a trooper was caught in it and fell out of cover screaming. Samuel started towards the woman, but hands grabbed him. He struggled.

“Let me go!” He hissed “She is alive…” But another burst of fire came and the woman’s screams cut off suddenly. Samuel shook his head and slumped back into cover. He shook his head. “Will, we are not Sith, we just want to talk to you.”

“Talk?” Will’s voice held scorn now. “Sure, why not? You say you are not Sith? You have their fashion sense, and their morals. What am I supposed to think? That it is all a cunning plan to… I don’t know… confuse people to death?”

"Will..." Samuel sighed. “You know you are not leaving.”

"Of course i know that." Will’s voice came again. “But neither are you.” Now the soldier's voice held viciousness that would not have been out of place on a SIth Lord.

"Will?" Samuel hadn’t thought he could get that stiff. “What have you done?”

“Wouldn’t you love to know, Sith scum?” Another burst of fire came and tore up the barricade.

"Crap..." Samuel turned to the highest rank soldier close and spoke quietly. “Did this depot have any heavy ordnance on the manifests?” The trooper pulled out a datapad, perused it for a moment and then shook his head.

"Ah..." The trooper’s voice was quiet. “No sir. The magazines hold munitions and explosives, but most of them are inert without detonators, I don’t know what he could mean. Probably a bluff.”

Samuel shook his head. “Don’t bet on it…” He ducked again as the repeater fired again, tearing up the landscape. Then his secure comlink vibrated. Samuel keyed it live. “What?” he asked acerbically.

"You are right..." Ravishaw’s voice came through. And for once, the other man’s tone held no humor. “It is no bluff. Your boy is good, Samuel. I can’t get to him.”

“What?” Samuel asked as he peered over his cover. He ducked back quickly as fire came in again. He winced as a trooper who had been slightly exposed went down with a massive hole in his armor. Many hands grabbed the man and pulled him back into cover before Will could fire again. “What did he do?”

Ravishaw’s voice was low. “I am looking at a sequencer charge on the reactor of an airspeeder. It is the third one I have seen. All are rigged to explode if tampered with.” Samuel felt his guts clench tighter. If Will had rigged all, or even half of the vehicles in the depot… None of the the vehicles were active, but all were ready to go , with full loads of fuel and munitions. “He must have been rigging the place as he went through, jeez…”

“Can you check the magazines?” Samuel asked carefully.

"Sheesh." Ravishaw’s voice held a bit of humor now. “Give me some credit. Brother. I checked those first. Class seven thermal charges on the inside of both doors. I didn’t look to see if he rigged them against tampering, my bet is yes. Why would he do this? He can’t get away. All he will do is kill himself.”

"And us..." Samuel went cold. “Oh no…”

Ravishaw’s voice was quiet. “What?”

“He never expected to get out of here." Samuel felt faint, but shook himself. "Maybe at first. But now… This is a trap for Us. With so much of the area rigged, a large part of the block will go up. We would never be able to get clear in time, even with the Force.” Samuel stared at the stasis pod and then at the door and slumped. “He has a clear view of the entrance to the building. If we try to run, he will gun us down in droves.”

"And?" Ravishaw’s voice was mocking now. “So what, we sit here until the regular Sith military shows up? Even with the master confusing things, they won’t hold off forever.”

Samuel shook his head. “No.” He looked at the troops that were crouched nearby. They had all heard what had been said and all felt the same sick feeling that Samuel felt in his gut. He leaned close to the trooper he had spoken to earlier. “I will get and hold his attention; you all get the hell out of here…”

A hand touched his shoulder. His master crouched beside him. “Samuel…”

Samuel met the man’s gaze and shook his head. Then he stood up and stepped out of cover. As expected, fire came in. He deflected the fire with his hands, without a lightsaber it hurt a lot, but then another presence was standing beside him and the bolts flew wide. “Will.” Samuel’s voice was stern now. “Stop.”

Will’s voice was sickly sweet now. “Flarg you.” A pair of objects flew towards Samuel, he caught them with the Force and they went off, stunning him.

Samuel’s master spoke evenly now. “We have no wish to kill you Will Kalenath. Please listen to your father.”

Now the soldier’s voice was quiet. “He is not my father, he may wear my father's face but he is not my father. Ah, so now the grand high muckety-muck shows his face. Sort of. So… What is your offer? Slavery in one of those crystals? An eternity of pain and torture? Or maybe seventy virgins?” The repeater fired again. But not at Samuel, no this time it hit around the door where people had been moving. Everything stopped. “Did I say anyone could leave?” Will’s voice was angry now.

"Please..." The man in the cowl sighed. “What do you want, Will Kalenath?”

Will laughed, sounding incredulous. “What do I want?” His voice became thoughtful. “Oh I don’t know. Ravishaw with his privates impaled on a sharp pole for starters. And then maybe your head on a pike.” Again, the repeater fired, spewing bolts all around the pair of black robed beings. Samuel felt something from Will for the first time. He flinched as he sensed a hate as deep as space itself.

"Oh my..." Samuel’s voice shook a bit. “What did he do to you?”

Now Will was angry. “Oh yeah, like you don’t know!” The ground literally shook as the repeater fired full auto, spraying bolts everywhere around Samuel and his master. None hit them. Two troopers were caught by stray shots, one fell without a sound, the other whimpered as he clutched the remains of his arm. It was a standoff. They could kill Will easily enough, but neither wanted to.

"Will..." Samuel’s voice was quiet. “I don’t.”

"Of course you don't!" Will’s voice was cold. “Of course they didn’t tell you. Ok… Where did you get my DNA scumsucker?”

"Huh?" Samuel stared at the shadows around the stasis pod, baffled by the apparent change in topics. Then he turned a questioning glance at his master, who looked and sensed equally confused. “What?” Samuel asked carefully.

“Ask Ravishaw.” Will’s voice came again, cold and dead. Samuel shivered a bit. “Ask him about Sharra.”

At that, Samuel felt his guts go completely cold. He almost lost control of his bodily functions. The depth of feeling that Will had for his wife. Suddenly this all made sense, horrific sense. His master looked at him and spoke loudly. “Ravishaw, what did you do?” There was no answer. “Ravishaw…” The master’s voice was quiet but commanding now.

"I did as instructed." Ravishaw’s voice came from somewhere. “I took precautions so that she would not escape.”

Samuel shook his head slowly. “What. Did. You. Do?” His voice held horror now.

Ravishaw laughed. “Nothing much. I just made sure she was docile before I gave her a present. I stole a sample of his DNA from the Republic, combined it with hers, I gave her his child.” He snickered. “She was so much more docile after that. Pregnancy agreed with her. Of course it might have been the mental programming too.”

"Oh dear..." Samuel’s face went slack. “You… what…?” The sense from his master was just as horrified. No wonder Will was so mad. “Oh, crap…” Samuel shook his head at a loss for words.

His master spoke. “Will Kalenath, you have my word Ravishaw will be punished for what he did. Let’s get your daughter out of this thing and get out of here before the regular Sith military shows up.”

Will laughed, there was an eerie similarity between his laughs and Ravishaw’s now. “Yeah, right. I am supposed to take your word that you don’t want me dead or enslaved, Mr. Sith? How stupid do you think I am?” He fired again. “I have all of you where I want you.”

"Will... I swear to you..." Samuel shook his head. ”I didn’t know. We will punish Ravishaw, you can count on that.”

“Can I?” Will asked rhetorically. “Of course I can. I can trust that you will backstab me as soon as you can. Probably put me in one of those crystals like you did Jainine and Ashla Ti. I don’t work for people who wear black.”

"Willl..." Samuel tried and sighed as he deflected the fire again. “Will, stop. Listen, please. We are not Sith.”

"No of course you are not." Will snickered. “You wear black, use lightsabers and the Dark Side of the Force, but you are not Sith. Ok… Then you are Bladeborn. I won’t work for them either.”

"Uh..." Samuel felt his face go slack again. Will was totally serious. “How did you know?”

Will’s voice was mocking again. “Oh I don’t know… The ‘Sith’ Lord who carries a sword instead of a lightsaber and has a brand on his arm… give me a break ‘Dad’.” The word Dad was heavily sarcastic. “I don’t care who the kark you are. You are with Ravishaw, that is all that matters to me. We are enemies.” This last was cold. He fired again, spraying bolts every which way.

The cowled form shook his head and deflected the fire effortlessly. “We don’t have to be Will Kalenath.” Samuel felt the Force flow around him as his master tried something. “You know this will end one way, why not see reason?”

Everything stopped as a black armored form appeared beside the stasis pod. Will was smiling grimly. “You should keep your thoughts to yourself.” The repeater fired again, but Will wasn’t shooting it! Instead, he pointed a sonic blaster pistol at the cowled man. “I like to know the name of the person I am going to kill.”

The man nodded, his posture relaxed. “My name is Bob.”

Will stared at him and then burst out laughing. “Bob? As in Darth Bob? Oh you have got to be kidding me… what happened to the menacing name bit? You can’t come up with something suitably evil and Sith like for yourself? Sheesh… Darth… Bob…” He just kept laughing.

The man in the cowl sighed deeply. “Just Bob, Will Kalenath.” Samuel felt the Force push again. “Come my friend, there is no need for this.” Samuel relaxed a bit as the pistol lowered a bit. Maybe…

Will met the cowled man who called himself Bob’s gaze evenly. When he spoke it was almost friendly. Almost. “I am no friend of yours.”

Samuel was in motion as Will’s gun came up, he felt a stunning impact and then he was slumped on the ground staring at the red hole in his abdomen. He looked up at his son, whose aim point didn’t waver now and smiled a little. A black clad from approached from behind Will and the soldier vanished again. He heard loud voices and firing, but it didn’t matter. Not now…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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07.05.2012 , 05:12 AM | #5
Whatever Will had expected when he opened fire, having the Sith with his father’s face throw himself in front of the other was not it. The Sith with Samuel Kalenath’s face went down, clutching a hole in his abdomen and Will dashed back into cover. He hit the remote controls on the heavy repeater again. It started barking out suppressing fire at the Sith and the barricade as he rolled away from the feeling he had, sure enough…

A black clad form landed in his hide and Will hit another control. The area where the Sith landed erupted in fire as Will scuttled away. He didn’t expect to hurt the scum with such small mines, but he hoped to distract the black robed form until he could reach new cover and maybe Ravishaw would take some damage. Anything to… An impact threw him from his feet and he heard laughter. The repeater stopped firing, probably destroyed by something.

“Is that the best you can do, fool?” Ravishaw’s voice was nearby and he heard boots on the gravel of the depot’s parking area. He rolled and fired, but a solid fist of the Force slammed into him again, driving him to his knees and throwing his pistol away. Invisible tendrils of energy grabbed him by the throat and lifted him into the air. He didn’t react, didn’t show pain or fear.

"Moron." He looked into the insane Sith Lord’s eyes and choked out words. “Do it if you have the guts, you whiney brat.”

"I am going to enjoy this." Ravishaw smiled. “I broke your wife, and I enjoyed it, boy. As much as I am going to enjoy breaking you.”

"Yeah right..." Darkness was clouding Will’s vision now, but he just smiled. “In your dreams, loser…”

Another voice came. “Ravishaw! Ravishaw, let him go!” Ravishaw snarled and focused his power, but then he went flying and Will collapsed to his knees as the Force that held him dissipated. Will looked up into the face of the man who called himself Bob. The man in black sighed. “You do know how to make a mess don’t you?”

Will smiled, a savage edge showed in his voice was he gathered himself. “It’s what I do.” Something intangible grabbed him and held him in place.

The man in black shook his head. Admiration was in his voice now. “You are… incredible. You have most of the area rigged, set on a biometric trigger I presume.” Will just looked at him. “Come on, this doesn’t have to be bad. You didn’t kill Samuel, close but not quite. And Ravishaw will be punished. I had no idea…”

Will just looked at him. When he spoke it was cold and clear. He could see black robed and armored forms approaching cautiously now. “And if you had? What would you have done? Killed her or put her in one of those crystals?”

"Neither." Bob shook his head. “We would have kept her safe, secure and comfortable. We are not enemies. I do not wish us to be enemies.”

"Of course." Will nodded slowly. “The old dungeon routine. Hate to break it to you pal, but the ‘Come over to my side’ spiel gets old.”

"That wasn't..." The man in black robes shook his head. “Will Kalenath… You are more important than you know. Come, my friend, let us leave this place…”

"Nice try." Will just grinned. No one sane would have called it friendly. “You are not my friend. And the mind tricks won’t work on me.”

"What?" Bob froze. “What have you done?”

"You don't own me anymore." Will smiled again, this time in memory. “I have some very strange friends. Some of whom undid the programming you and your sychophants did to me all those years ago.” Bob stared at him. “Yes, I know you were behind Naj Orh, you manipulated Special Branch into becoming the nasty pieces of work they did.” Will stood up slowly, and looked around. Black robed forms were converging on him, but he just smiled. “You don’t own me. And you won’t.”

"Ah..>" Bob shook his head. “It doesn’t have to be this way… Stop fighting me, let me in, I can end your pain, give you joy again.”

Will’s voice was almost merry. “Flarg you and the cat you rode in on.” Will didn’t move but everything seemed to stop as the human in front of him grunted. “You have no idea who you are fraking with, pal…”

Bob sighed. “I wanted to do this the easy way, the painless way. But if you insist… You are mine, Will Kalenath.”

“Am I?” Will asked in a mocking tone. The Force seemed to boil around him, but if it bothered him in the slightest, it was unapparent. “You might want to quit while you are ahead, moron.”

The figure in front of him laughed. “Ah, Will… You are truly incredible. I know of perhaps two other non Jedi and Sith humans who can resist my mental probes.” He sighed. “You are far more important than you know, so I am afraid… I cannot let you immolate yourself.” A quick gesture and the trigger around Will’s wrist went dark and fell off.

Far from cowed, Will smiled. “Thank you.” He laughed and there was a remarkable similarity between Ravishaw’s former laughter and Will’s now.

Bob stared at him. “For?”

Will grinned widely now. “It wasn’t a trigger, it was set for deadman activation. When you deactivated it, you activated every single mine and charge that I placed. All of the sequencers as well as the two thermal charges are now on timers. Have a nice life, pal.” He glanced at his chrono. “All minute and a half you have left of it.”

"I see." Bob stared at him and sighed. A wave of energy pushed Will into a solid object and held him there. “Ah, boy… You put your faith in technology. Technology can be negated.” He closed his eyes and something literally exploded out from him. All around, objects hissed and went dark as energy fried their detonators. All around the depot came sounds so sizzling as circuits fried into uselessness. He opened his eyes and met Will’s gaze dispassionately. He shook his head slowly. “You see?”

"Yes." Will nodded. “I see I underestimated you. Fine, it happens. But you and your scum just have never stopped underestimating me either.”

Bob smiled. “Oh?” He asked as he came close, a hand outstretched to touch Will on the head.

"Yeah." Will grinned.

Something went hiss on Will’s belt and Bob stiffened. “No!” He screamed as Will fell. The canister on Will’s belt hissed its vile payload all around, but Bob ignored it as he grabbed the canister and tossed it away with the Force. He shook his head. “You idiot… Nerve gas won’t kill me… And I won’t let it kill you. You are too valuable to lose now, after all of this.”

Will looked at him and smiled. “Too late, scumsucker.” No he wasn’t looking at Bob, he was looking above him! He was laughing again. Bob spun and…

The ground shook with thunderous impacts as an assault shuttle of Sith design appeared hovering over the depot. The hatch opened, but instead of troops…

Bob screamed as three dark blurs fell from the shuttle. Half way down the smallest one ignited two small silver lightsabers. Trugoy landed on his feet and immediately drove into the press, heading for where Bob stood, dumbfounded. Mama Lizard hit on top of an unfortunate figure in robes and from the cracking sounds, that one was not going to get up, ever. Her axes where in hand and she dove in another direction, cleaving and slicing. But it was the third figure that held Bob’s attention. Idjit stood alone, surrounded by forms in black robes and armor, none of whom looked like they wanted to be where they were.

“You…” Bob’s voice was low, dangerous.

“Me.” Idjit agreed. He jumped into the air and the force literally exploded from him in a spherical wave, sending all of the beings nearby flying. He drew his sword slowly, easily and another black clad form appeared between the two. “Hello, Ravishaw, I guess it is time for you to die.”

Bob snarled. “Not today.” Something happened, a wave of dark energy flowed form that being covering the whole area in darkness for a moment. When it lifted, Bob and his compatriots were gone, living and dead alike. “This isn’t over…” Bob’s voice came from nowhere and then was gone.

“No it has barely begun.” Idjit replied as he moved towards where Will was lying only to freeze when the soldier sat up, his gun in hand. Idjit sighed. “A little appreciation would not go amiss here, Will…”

"Bladeborn..." Will snarled as he rolled to his feet. “You took your sweet time.”

"You try and get away from Imperial scrutiny and then try to make a rendezvous on time…" Idjit snorted. “Sheesh… You are lucky we got here at all. The bugs?”

"Gone." Will shook his head. “No sign of where, but they were here. I bet they are working with those scum.”

"Joy." Idjit sighed. “Yeah, the visions are not clear on that, but… Hang on… The pod?”

"Haven’t had a chance to look." Will shook his head. “Probably just bait… but…” His sonic blaster rose from the ground where it had been and flew to his hand. He looked at it, smiled and nodded to Idjit. “Thanks.” His thanks were grudging, but honest.

“No problem, let’s see…” Idjit looked at the pod and sighed. “I am sorry Will…She is not here.”

"Ah well." Will slumped. “It was too much to hope for. Anything inside?”

Mama Lizard keyed the pod open and her voice was sad. “Oh…”

Will looked at the multiple small forms nestled inside and shook his head. “Twi’lek children. Slavers… Must have been running a operation through here. Can you…”

"Yes." Idjit nodded, “We can handle it.” Then his head shot up. “We are going to have company in about three minutes, get out of here. You get any more hints of bug activity, you have the code.”

Will snorted. “You are so lucky I didn’t just flush the thing when I found it. You said that transport was clean.” He had been less than enthused to find a com code to contact the Bladeborn if he needed to after his latest adventures on Korriban. But right now, he wasn’t going to argue.

Trugoy snorted from where he stood on a pile of debris nearby. “We are lucky?” Will shook his head and his stealth systems activated. And just like that, he was gone.

Mama Lizard was helping a shaky Twilek child out of the pod. “It isss okay, child, you are sssafe now.”

The little male Twi’lek, who couldn’t have been more than two or three, stared at the Barabel, obviously frightened. “Are the bad ones gone?”

"Yessss, young one." Mama Lizard nodded. “Yessss, the bad onesss are gone. All of them.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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07.05.2012 , 05:22 AM | #6
<Some time later>

When Samuel woke, he hurt. His head was pounding, his gut was on fire and he ached all over. He opened his eyes and was not surprised to find himself in the medical bay of his master’s home base. The room he was in was a private recovery ward, bed, a couple of chairs and a bunch of medical equipment, nothing else. He looked himself over, a red stained bandage covered much of his abdomen, and the pain was coming from there. Judiciously, he tried to move a bit and the pain increased exponentially. groaned.

“Samuel…?” A worried voice came from nearby and he looked to see Jen sitting in a chair near the door.

“Jen.” His voice as rough, and he shook his head trying to clear cobwebs from it.

Jen smiled as she rose from her chair. “About time you woke up, brother.” She hit a control and the bed he was in angled so he was sitting instead of lying. “You had us worried.”

Samuel felt sick. Something… “What happened? I saw Will getting ready to shoot…”

Another voice came. “You got between him and me, Samuel. That was dumb.” The being who called himself Bob stepped into the room, Jen immediately stepped back, fear on her face, but Bob just sighed. “Jen, relax… I won’t hurt you. I was angry with Ravishaw and myself, no one else.”

Jen whimpered, just a little bit and Samuel held out a hand. She came to him slowly, like beaten dog. Her sheer terror was easy to feel. He took her hand and pulled her close. A few minutes of stroking her hair and she relaxed a bit. Neither of the two men blamed her one bit for her feelings.

Jen Ojul was twenty years old. She had been a medic working on for a pharmaceutical company on Coruscant. She had been a dutiful employee, and a hard worker, kind and gentle with her patients and good at her job. She had been on a vacation trip to Kuat when the ship she had been on had been taken. Ravishaw had been bored, so he had gone out looking to have some fun. He had, well, indulged himself on that small transport. Out of the twelve people aboard it, Jen was the only survivor, and she wasn’t really. She had been shattered in both body and soul, and it had taken Samuel some time to put her back together after Ravishaw had returned with her. Ravishaw had not been happy to lose his toy, but Samuel couldn’t have cared less, and their master had agreed with Samuel. She was still very fragile, but she was an exceptional medic as well, so, while Samuel would have preferred to send her home, minus her memory of what had happened, they did truly need her. Jen was crying softly as Samuel held her and stroked her hair.

"Master?" Samuel’s voice was quiet as he comforted the distraught healer. “What happened?”

"You son has a definite talent for making a mess." Bob sighed. “It seems he has made an alliance. We had him, and then Trugoy showed up.”

"What?" Samuel stiffened and groaned as his gut hurt again. “Will wouldn’t have allied with Sith, you saw how he felt about them.”

"Yes, I did." Bob winced. “Ouch…”

"This... makes little sense." Samuel shook his head. “Something else is going on here. How many did we lose?”

Jen answered quietly. “Twenty four troopers, some from your son, some from Trugoy. Three brothers and a sister.” Samuel winced, that was bad.

Samuel shook his head and looked at Bob, who nodded. “I am on it, but it will take some time, and we have a lot of wounded to care for. We need you whole.”

"Right." Samuel nodded grimly and carefully extricated himself from Jen’s grasp. “Jen… Step back please.” Jen looked at him and blanched, but obeyed. She cowered against the wall as Bob came close to the bed.

“This is going to hurt Samuel.” Bob’s voice was soft, sad as he laid a hand on Samuel’s abdomen. Samuel nodded, but didn’t reply as the feeling of pressure came on his abdomen. Then… Pain. It felt as if he was being shot all over again. He was on fire, the center of the intense fire in the middle of his gut. Despite his control, he screamed as the pain redoubled, and impossibly, redoubled again. He screamed again and again, and then, it stopped. He slumped to the bed, spent as Bob withdrew his hand. He lifted up the edge of the red soaked bandage and nodded as he saw pink, whole flesh where there had been a wound. Bob’s voice was gentle. “There, that should do you.”

Samuel nodded. “Thank you. I will…” He tried to get up and his head spun.

Bob shook his head. “You will sit in that bed until your head clears… matter of fact…” He touched Samuel on the head and then shook his head. “I would do more damage that I would heal. You will have a hell of a headache, but the concussion has faded. No one is in danger now. Besides Ravishaw that is.” There was a distinct undercurrent of rage to Bob’s tone now.

"Ravishaw..." Samuel shook his head slowly. “I cannot believe he did that. Even insane, he had to know how Will was going to react. He had to know that when he did that, Will would never join us willingly.”

"You are right." Bob’s voice was cold. “He did.”

Samuel stared at him. “What?”

“He knew." The master of the group snapped coldly. "He figured that if Will joined us, his own power would be lessened. He was thinking like a Sith, so he reacted like a Sith. And he cost us. And he didn’t just give her Will’s child to keep her docile. He hurt her, badly.”

Jen’s voice was scared. “What did he…?” She broke off and cringed as both men looked at her. Bob shook his head, smiled at Samuel and left the room. Samuel held out a hand to Jen again. Jen came to him, staring at the bandage that was hanging off now, fear and awe on her face. “I am sorry…”

She was crying again and Samuel sighed as he sat up and her out his hands again. She took his hand in hesitant grips and them she couldn’t restrain a squeak as he drew her into an embrace. But then she relaxed, slowly, so slowly.

"Jen..." Samuel sighed again deeply as he calmed her with gentle touches, the same as he would an abused animal, which she was. “It is not your fault, Jen. Not your fault at all. You were hurt, you were abused, I want to send you home, but…”

Jen nodded jerkily. “You need me. I… I understand. I just…” She shook her head as she shivered. “Help…?”

Samuel nodded slowly. He laid a gentle hand against the back of her head and concentrated. Energy flared from his hand and the girl stiffened, but then relaxed in his grasp. “Better?”

Jen nodded, then stood up straight. “Yes, thank you. I… I don’t want to be a burden.”

"Jen..." Samuel sighed, but let Jen withdraw a little. “Jen, listen to me. What happened to you was horrific. If I could change it, I would. But I can’t. All I can do now is try and help you, and the others. It is… all I have now…” For a moment, his face was sad, haunted. Jen stared at him, her own fear and pain forgotten. Samuel shook his head and laughed sourly. “Aw listen to me, prattling on. What do we have first?”

"Right." Jen nodded, slipping back into her professional detachment. “Trooper Majiz took a repeater bolt in the arm. It is a mess, but it looks repairable. He is allergic to sedatives three and seven however.”

"Okay, lets get to work." Samuel nodded as he swung his legs off the bed. Now nothing hurt. He was continually amazed at the sheer power his master could muster. Jen stared at him as he stripped the old bandage off. Samuel raised an eye brow as he changed into a clean set of clothes that had been left by his bedside by some thoughtful brother. Samuel’s voice was soft as he pulled on clean pants. “The Master is powerful.”

"Samuel..." Jen nodded. “You should have died from that. Anywhere else you would have. I… I don’t want to know, do I?”

"No." Samuel shook his head slowly. “Suffice it to say that things like life and death that we consider to be immutable facts, to the Master they are more engineering problems. It is…not pleasant however.”

"What?" Jen froze. “Are you saying…?” She couldn’t voice it.

"Yes." Samuel nodded ad he pulled a shirt on. “The three dead brothers and our sister will return tomorrow or the next day. They will be groggy, confused and in pain. But alive.”

"Samuel..." Jen stared at him, her mouth agape. “That is…impossible. I saw one of them. Something heavy landed on him. If he had a single unbroken bone in his body I will be utterly amazed.”

"I know." Samuel nodded as he fastened his shoes. “It is impossible. But it happens, somehow. I really don't think we want to know how. Come on, let’s get to work.”

Jen was shaking her head in disbelief as she followed Samuel out of the room and into a medical bay awash with groaning bodies. Samuel sighed as he began the long job of tending the wounded.


It was very dark in the small room, the only illumination as from a single glowlamp that did little to dispel the gloom. The being who called himself Bob leaned over a young form that lay on a table. The boy, who could not yet have been twenty, was trying to be brave but failing. Tears were falling and shame covered his features. Bob’s voice was gentle.

“Come now, son, what is your name?” The boy would have shaken his head, but it was restrained with the rest of his body. Bob sighed. “What happened to your family was regrettable, but necessary. We could not allow any of you to sound the alarm. We would have simply held them until we were gone, wiped their memories. What Ravishaw did was inexcusable however. He is being punished now, and that leaves us with you, our sole loose end. Come on, boy, what is your name…?” A gentle hand traced the boy’s skull and the boy screamed. “Come on, son, its okay, let the pain stop, that’s a good boy…”

The boy slumped in his bonds. When he spoke it was shaky. “Ric.”

Bob smiled. “See , that wasn’t so hard. Your family is dead, Ric, I can’t help them. I can help you, to see the truth, to accept it, to serve a higher power. I will give you another family, and other group of beings who will love and cherish you.” Both of his hands cupped the back of the boy’s skull now and Ric screamed loud and long. Suddenly the screams cut off as if with a knife.

"I..." Ric’s eyes were dull now. “I… I accept…”

Bob’s voice was gentle as he moved to the side and started moving things closer to the table. “We have a use for you, Ric. We need another medical person and I think you will do nicely, you want to help others, yes?”

"Yes..." Ric’s voice was odd, as if a droid were speaking through his mouth. “Wanted to be a doctor.”

Bob smiled as he stared attaching things to the boy’s head. “You can be, given time and a certain amount of education, but the basic training I will give you. I am afraid that this will hurt.”

"I..." Ric stared straight head. “I live to serve.”

Bob nodded to the boy and stepped towards the door. He extinguished the glowlamp but there was another glow in the room now, an almost ultraviolet light coming from the back of computers that sat beside the table. It also came from the cables that were now connected to Ric’s head. “I will be back in an hour.” Ric was screaming as he stepped out of the room and shut the door. The screams cut off as the soundproofing silenced them.

Bob walked out into a larger room and sighed. “And now… for you…” Ravishaw didn’t answer him, indeed, couldn’t answer him. The pole that he had been impaled on had gone through his privates and into his abdomen. Breathing was possible, if incredibly hard, and the sheer pain made using the Force impossible. “Your blundering cost us. If you had obeyed your orders instead of playing with the girl, if you had sent her back as soon as you impregnated her, as you were ordered… none of this would have happened. You ignorant boy. Always playing with your food. And torturing her afterwards was unacceptable. If you had done as instructed, Trugoy would not have found her, we would have Will Kalenath with us now, and a quarter of our number would not lie in medical and the morgue. And now, Sharra Kalenath and her child are out of our reach, well done, boy. You cost us a quick victory.”

Bob looked to the beings who surrounded the small hall. “Our brother has transgressed. Indulge yourselves.” Wooden swords came up and all of the beings stepped towards the impaled figure. Bob sat down to watch, this was excessive, but it was probably the only way to get the point across to Ravishaw. Even if the boy did like pain.
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07.05.2012 , 05:29 AM | #7

Samuel was dragging, and Jen was dead on her feet before all of the patients had been tended. What could be done had been. Samuel waved Jen into his office and then to a chair. “Sit before you fall over, Jen…” He went to his small food prep station and started a couple of cups of caf. Jen did as instructed and took the cup that Samuel brought her. She sipped it, hissing a bit as the hot liquid scalded her tongue. Samuel looked at her. “You have questions? Ask. I won’t hurt you for asking questions.” He smiled at her, but she flinched and he sighed. His voice was sad. “Jen…?”

"I..." Jen sipped her cup and shook her head. “I am fine, just tired.”

"No, you are not." Samuel shook his head as he sat in his own chair. “No, you are not. Neither am I. We are both healers. All I ever wanted to do was heal. And now…” He stared at the hands that held his cup. “Now I kill as easily as I heal… what does that make me?” His voice was quiet now.

Jen looked at him and grinned a little, a minor triumph for her. “My boss.”

"Ah Jen..." Samuel shook his head. “If I could let you go, you know I would.” The girl bowed her head, but Samuel sighed. “I am sorry, Jen. For the torture you underwent. For my own ham handed handling of you when you came in, I… I was mad at Ravishaw and I had no idea… I am sorry.”

"No..." Jen shook her head. “Not your fault. You try and act kind. What did they do to you?”

"I don't know." Samuel slumped in his chair. “I really don’t know. All I know is I woke up here, and suddenly for the first time in my life I could use the Force. I did not handle it well. I had fallen unconscious in machine designed to make my brain do something it couldn’t. And then I woke up here. I…” He shook his head. “I wonder sometimes if this is my own personal hell, for things I did while I was a soldier.”

"Samuel." Jen shook her head slightly. “You wouldn’t go to hell, Samuel. You are a good man.”

"No I am not." Samuel shook his head. “A good man would have found a way for you to go home by now. A good man would have found a way to fight this… This compulsion to obey that is borrowing through my veins and blood. A good man would not have just tried to enslave his own son…” Jen was staring at him now, but Samuel didn’t see her. “I wish Will had managed to kill me, maybe if he had aimed for the head… But no, the Master can bring back even brain damaged people. Admittedly, they are a bit odd afterwards.” He smiled thinly.

"Oh?" Jen spoke softly. “Is that what happened to Ravishaw?”

"I don't know." Samuel shook his head. “And truth be told, I don’t care, he is a creep and always has been. Come on Jen, what do you want to ask?” Jen shook her head, mute. When she looked up, her eyes were glistening.

"I..." Her voice was soft and sad. “I am never going to be able to go home, am I?”

“Oh…” Samuel slumped in his chair. “I think the answer is no, but I don’t know. I don’t know if they will ever let you go. I do know they will never let me go. They can’t, I know too much. You… I am not sure of. But probably not.” Jen put her head down and nodded. Samuel put his cup down, stood and walked to where she was crying softly now. “I am sorry, Jen.” Jen slumped and Samuel held her as she cried.

After a few minutes, she calmed a bit. “Can you make me forget?” She asked in a scared voice.

Samuel stiffened. “Jen, you don’t know what you are saying.” She held onto his arms, and her grip was painfully tight, but Samuel didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes bored into his skull.

Her voice was intent. “You can calm me out of my terrors, you can… I want to forget… You did it to Jainine, and you did it to Vimas…” She almost begged.

Samuel met her gaze with a calm he didn’t feel. “Jen, what we did to them was a punishment. It was painful, and horrific. I won’t do that to you.”

"Even if..." Jen’s voice was looking at the floor now. “Even if in doing so, you gain another sister?”

Samuel shook his head and then he tilted Jen’s jaw up gently until she was looking him in the eye. “Listen to me, Jen. Forgetting doesn’t help matters. All it does is make things that come along later blindside you. You are a strong woman, capable, kind and an excellent nurse and medic. What happened to you was horrible. But if you don’t remember, who will?” Jen stared at him and then she burst out crying and buried her head in his shoulder. Samuel held her as she sobbed. “It’s okay, Jen, it’s okay…” He repeated as he patted her on the head. But she didn’t calm, she was disconsolate. It wasn’t good for her emotional well being, such as it was, to remain that way. The healer in Samuel was drawn to her pain and wanted to help.

“Sleep, Jen.” A touch of power and she collapsed into his arms. He hefted her easily and carried her out of the office to the quarters set aside for her. The room was bare, with just a couple of touches that might have been an attempt to lighten the gloomy place up. A flimsi with a drawing on it. Another flimsi that had been folded into an ornate shape. He laid her gently on the bed and, after a moment’s thought, pulled her filthy scrubs off of her. He put her in a clean robe and laid her on the bed. He covered her with the sheet and sat beside her bed. It was odd, he reflected, that she didn’t have nightmares while he was present. Almost as if, even unconscious, she knew he wouldn’t hurt her, that he would protect her to the best of his ability.

<A bit later>

"Samuel." After a couple of hours of sitting and thinking, Samuel was not surprised to hear the door open. He looked up to see the being called Bob enter the room and shut the door again. “I thought I would find you here.” The voice was soft so as to not disturb the sleeping woman.

"Yeah." Samuel looked at him. His voice was not much louder. “She deserves whatever peace I can give her. She is a good woman.”

"Ah Jen..." Bob leaned against the wall and nodded. “Yes she is.”

“You heard.” It wasn’t a question; the entire base was wired for sound and video.

"I did." Bob nodded. “Samuel… We can’t let her go. Not now. If… if she wants to forget…?”

Samuel's voice was cold now. “No.” Jen whimpered in her sleep but quieted when he brushed her arm gently.

"Samuel..." Bob sighed. “Samuel, it’s her choice.”

“Is it?” Samuel’s voice while low, had at the ring of steel in it. “Choice… funny word…”

Bob shook his head. “Samuel…”

"Choices.... Its all about choices..." Samuel’s voice could have frozen sun now. Jen whimpered again, but stilled when he touched her and power flared, sending her deep into unconsciousness. “You could have told me what you were going to do to Sharra, I could have told you it was a bad idea.”

"Samuel..." Samuel’s master sighed. “Ravishaw overstepped. He shouldn’t have done what he did. He did not obey his instructions.”

Samuel met the other being’s gaze evenly. “Which ones? You were surprised at hearing that he had tortured Sharra and brainwashed her. Not that he had impregnated her. What a great way to keep her docile and draw Will like a magnet to a piece of steel. Oh and by the way, what a great way to totally tick Will off! Nothing you and Ravisahw could have possibly done could have alienated him worse. When you made me swear to your service, I told you that I would tell you when you were making a mistake. This was a mistake; I could have told you that and saved us all a lot of grief.”

"Samuel..." The other man in black stilled. “Samuel, be careful. I made mistakes, yes… but… it was for the greater good.”

"Sure it was." Samuel sighed. “Why not just say what your drones said before? ‘It’s for the Republic’ Going to make me forget again?” He asked coldly.

Bob stared at him and then sighed. “Samuel…”

Samuel sighed. “I didn’t understand what he meant at first. I was lying there, with my guts hanging out. I didn’t believe it. But then… You admitted it.” Samuel shook his head slowly. “Your commands bind me, body and soul, so I have no choice but to obey your commands. But know this. From this day forth, we are enemies. You destroyed my family, and for that I will see you and yours burn.”

Bob met his angry gaze with a calm any Jedi would have envied. “Are you done, brother?” Samuel nodded and the other being reached out a quick hand to touch Samuel on the shoulder. Samuel stiffened. “Sleep, brother. When you wake, you will feel better.” A touch on the temple and Samuel fell back into the chair. “And you won’t remember any of this…”

Bob arranged Samuel’s body so he wouldn’t wake uncomfortable and then, with a sigh, left the room. A few minutes after he had gone, a transparent form seemingly composed of dark silver energy appeared in the middle of the room. The Torguta shook her head slowly and knelt down beside where Samuel was sitting. She smiled as she touched his head. She spoke quietly. “Remember Samuel…” Samuel jerked a bit and the spirit spoke again. “Don’t move, Samuel. If you don’t move the cameras will not activate, they are on motion sensors. We need to talk.”

Samuel opened his eyes and met the Togruta’s gaze calmly. When he spoke it was so low as to be nearly inaudible. “Yes, Master Ashla Ti, we do…”
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07.05.2012 , 05:40 AM | #8
<A very long ways away>

“What do you mean they are gone?” Will knew his tone was not very respectful, but at the moment, he couldn’t have cared less. Luckily the office he was in had excellent soundproofing. He had hoped to rest and recuperate on the Stormhawk for a day or so while Amarath Shades perused the data that he had purloined on his way out of the Sith depot.

Stormhawk Boss sighed. “Will… We did everything we knew how to do. We had seven trackers on that ship, and one on each of them. The ship vanished. One moment it was there, the next it wasn’t…” He keyed a sensor log onto the holodisplay on his desk. “See for yourself. I have had a dozen analysts look over the logs, and all of them say the same thing. What happened was impossible. According to them anyway.”

Will looked at the holo, watching and waiting until… He inhaled sharply as the sensor trace for the small transport simply vanished. He ran the holo back and looked at it again, but nothing presented itself. He shook his head. “That is no stealth I have even seen. They didn’t jump… So… What does that leave?”

"I wish I knew." Boss shook his head. “I don’t know, Will, I don’t know. We scoured that system. There was nothing there that we could find. I just don’t know…”

Will sighed as he sat back in his chair and winced a bit. Getting tossed around by an angry Force user was never a pleasant experience. Then he had dosed himself with nerve gas, hoping to deny his enemies their prize, but even that had been negated. That Sith, or whatever he had been, had been powerful beyond belief. He shook his head slowly. “Nia is missing and now mom, Sara and this Sarai are as well… Geez this is getting complicated…”

"Will...?" Boss snorted. “Is it ever not complicated?” His intercom chirped and he snarled at it before hitting it. “What? I said I was not to be disturbed.” His voice was cool, but there was menace in it.

His XO, Jaing Makarian’s voice was excited. “You need to hear this, check your repeater from the com system.” The XO clicked off and Boss stared at his intercom for a moment before hitting a control.

A voice came from the com system. “…and I know this is very unusual, but it was needed. Tell Will…” A very familiar voice.

Will jumped out of his chair. “Mom!” He leaned over the desk almost pathetic in his need for reassurance.

Maria’s Kalenath’s voice was not the fatigued and worried sound that Boss had heard recently. No, this woman sounded rested and happy. Which was odd, because Maria never was happy these days, too much stress and worry. “Hello Will, I hadn’t expected to catch you there. Any luck?” She didn’t ask about what. Boss nodded. Com security was tight, but, in all things there were limits.

Will shook his head. “No, I was too late again. We are looking into other possibilities.” He mouthed a word at Boss. ‘Trace?’ Boss started hitting controls.

"Well..." Maria sighed. “I am sorry for up and vanishing on you all, but we really had no choice. Sharra was in great danger.”

"Mom...?" Will shook his head slowly. “Are you… Are you okay? You sound… different…”

"I am." Maria snorted. “Forty eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and a full cleansing of my body of poisons. That was unpleasant, but I feel years younger. To answer your question, yes, I am okay.”

"Okay..." Will nodded slowly, his eyes on where Boss was working. “Where are you?’

"Will..." Maria’s voice was humorous now. “You know I can’t tell you that. And your trace is about to finish running, it will say I am sitting in Boss’ office with you.”

Boss recoiled from his console. Will looked at him and Boss shook his head slowly. When the commander of the ship spoke it was quiet. “Maria… How do we know that it’s you? Or that you haven’t been drugged or coerced?”

"You don't." Maria sighed. “You can’t. But... Will, Boss, these people are nice, and say that I can leave whenever I wish, but… You need to know. Sharra can’t.”

Will stiffened. “Why?” Depths of cold spoke in that single word.

"She is a mess, Will." Maria’s voice was pensive now. “When that Sith scumbag had her, he did something to her mind. The people here say they can undo it, given time, but… Until then, she is wide open to his influence. This is probably one of the safest places available for her at the moment since she is expecting.”

Will shook his head; he had actually been worried about something like that after what had happened to the clone. “So… what?” He asked quietly.

“I was told to set up a meet, between you and someone who can explain." Maria’s voice was quiet. "I will be nowhere nearby. And the people you will be talking to will have no idea at all where we are. So, no shaking them down for information. Clear?” This was in a commanding tone.

"But..." Will shook his head as a growl sounded form the speaker. “Mom…” He said, resigning himself to her way.

Now Maria’s voice was almost happy. “Will, I didn’t believe at first myself. But these people have been kind to us. I have slept through the night for the last two days without chemicals; Sara and Sara are looking more alive than I have seen them, ever. Will, just meet and talk.”

"Mom..." Will sighed in exasperation. “Fine. Where?”

"Duro." Maria spoke softly now. “Go to a cantina called ‘Hosts’. You know it. They will find you.”

"I do know it." Will shook his head slowly. “How do I know this isn’t a trap?”

"Because I say it isn't?" Maria snorted. “ And because Istara would have my head if I tried something like that, using her honor to trap you.”

"What?" Will stared at the com. “Istara Andal?” He remembered meeting the woman briefly on Tython while he had been there. He had heard something about her leaving and having some strange adventures.

"Yes." Maria had a smile in her voice when she spoke again. “The same. Talk to her Will, and… When you meet her companion, talk first, please.” The com clicked off and Will stared at it for a long minute before looking at Boss.

"Ah joy." Boss shook his head. “It’s got to be another trap.”

"Maybe..." Will shook his head slowly. “But…”

"What?" Boss stared at him. “Will?” He pressed when the soldier did not immediately reply.

Will mused a bit before answering. “The woman I met on Tython wouldn’t set a trap like this. Not using Mom. She would hunt me herself. She doesn’t go for the sneaky approach generally. Come on, you met her yourself, did she seem like someone who would set me up using my mom?”

"Huh?" Boss shook his head. “I don’t know any Istara Andal.”

“You knew her by another name." Will smirked. "Sharlina.”

Boss jerked so hard he almost fell out of his chair. “You... are… kidding…?”

"Nope." Will shook his head and grinned. “She called herself Istara when I met her on Tython.”

"Sharlina of the Bladeborn..." Boss sighed. “Oh… boy…”

"Yep." Will sighed just as deeply. “You said it.”

<Coruscant orbit>

Traffic was bad. Istara detested space travel, and this was… just insufferable. The constant delays, wave offs and other assorted garbage that came from trying to leave the orbital space of the galaxy’s most populous world were excessive to say the least. She focused on what Nana had taught her, trying to get her form perfect. These new sword techniques, while elegant in their simplicity, were anything but easy to pull off, especially blindfolded as she was now. She extended in a slow lunge and a tap on her arm had her freezing.

Nana’s voice was quiet. “A bit more bend in the elbow there, sister.” Istara bent her elbow as directed and the tap came again. She finished her lunge, slowly. “Good, now recover.” Quick as a flash, Istara was back in her ready stance. “Wait…” Istara waited, but Nana didn’t speak again for a minute. When she did it was soft. “We have to go to Duro.”

Istara tensed. “Why?” She stretched out with her feelings, letting her immediate surrroundings fall by the wayside. And she felt something she hadn’t from Nana before. Fear. Istara sheathed her swords and took off the blindfold. “Nana?” The insect was folded in on herself, as if praying.

"We have to go to a cantina on the station there." Nana’s voice was soft when she spoke again. “We have to meet Will Kalenath.”

"Nana..." Istara’s eyes went wide. “If he sees you…” He would shoot first and probably not ask questions later, given his history with the lost cousins.

“I know…” The large bug nodded and then sighed. "But we need to do this. Majistrona just told me... Maria Kalenath, Sara Kalenath, Sharra Kalenath and a young woman named Sarai have sought shelter with our sect. And if he thinks we have kidnapped them... It would get bad."

"Bad?" Istara shivered. "You have no idea..."
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07.05.2012 , 05:50 AM | #9
<Two days later, Duro>

Istara moved through the crowds slowly, her senses hyperalert. Her swords were at her back and her armor was concealed under her clothing, but couldn't help feeling odd. She felt very out of place here. She had never been to this planet before, well, to the orbital cities that surrounded the planet. One look at the radioactive wasteland that had been left by the Mandalorians during the Mandalorian Wars convinced Istara that she never wanted to go planetside if she had any choice at all. But this place was so crowded. And it stank.

“Gah…” She muttered under her breath as she walked. It had taken her two hours to get from the landing bays to this part of the station. The path was complicated, any space station this size would be.

A voice sounded in her mind. Nana was worried. Stay sharp Istara. I can’t remain close to you. If anything happens to you here, Ecien and Majistrona will flay me.

Istara replied the same way. I know. I am. There are a lot of beings here though, bad place for an ambush.

Nana’s voice was tart now. Oh, as careful as you always are? Istara felt a stab of humor from the insect.

Istara snorted, drawing a few looks from a passing Duros that she ignored. She continued on her way towards the destination she could now see in the distance. The cantina called Hosts seemed to cater to non-Duros, judging from the clientele gathered out front. At least a dozen Trandoshans sat near the…

Istara stiffened. Nana… Those were no cantina patrons, all of the lizards were armed and armored for a fight.

Nana’s voice came in Istara’s mind. I see them. What clan, can you tell?

Istara walked forward her face a mask of indifference, but her mind was whirling. Trask clan. All hunters. Oh dear… Are they after me or him?

Nana’s mind voice was almost scared now. I don’t know. Istara, back off, we can do the meet another time. Something is seriously not right here.

Istara continued walking. I am committed, if I turn and run, they will wonder why, and I bet I do have a bounty or two on me at the moment.

Now Nana’s mental voice was quietly frustrated. Istara…

Istara sighed, and then she walked up to one of the lizards and spoke in passable Dosh. <What happens here?>

The Dosh all looked at her and the one she had spoken to snarled at her. <Human, go. Not your business.>

Istara shook her head slowly. <I eat, here now. You. Move.> Something dark and terrible showed in her calm eyes and all of the lizards ere looking at her now. She met the gaze of the one she had spoken to and this time she put a hint of power behind her words. Trandoshan brains were not exactly like human ones, and Ashla did not lend itself terribly very well to mental suggestion, so she really had no idea if it was going to work or not. <No quarrel with Trask clan, have I. Eat lunch, wish I.>

The Trandoshan snorted and stepped aside. As she passed the female hunter murmured something that only Istara would be able to hear in Basic. “You are crazy human, I like that. Eat and get out of here.”

Istara nodded, but it was impossible to tell if she was nodding to the comment or to the fact that the Trandoshan had moved. She walked into the cantina and stopped at the threshold. Whatever she had expected, this was not it.

The inside was cheerily lit, and there were no places to hide at all. Everything was in plain sight of the door. Then she realized that was intentional. There was no cover to be seen anywhere. She looked left and right and grinned slightly as she saw the telltale signs of heavy weapons emplacements hiding in the walls. No wonder the Trandoshans were outside… She shook her head as she walked towards the bar.

"Afternoon." The bartender, an absurdly young looking Iridonian, smiled at her. “What can I get you?”

"Lunch." Istara smiled back. “A Ruby Bliels and a meal. And I am supposed to meet someone here. But the creep didn’t say when.”

"Right." The bartender prepared her drink expertly, and then set it in front of her. “Someone came in earlier, said he was waiting for a redhead.” Istara stiffened and the bartender looked at her. “No trouble in here, understand?”

"I am not that stupid." Istara snorted. “The four repeaters tracking me at the moment would be a very good persuader in any case. But like I said, I am here for a meal, and to talk to someone. No more, no less.”

"Good." The bartender smiled thinly. “So nice to work with people who understand things for a change. Stupid Trandoshans.”

"Oh?" Istara glanced at the door where one of the lizards was looking at her now. Two of the turrets whined and the lizard vanished. “You want me to run them off?” Istara asked quietly.

The bartender looked tempted for a moment. But then he sighed. “Nah, every so often one of them comes in and buys something. I wish I knew what they were waiting for.” Something in his Force sense had Istara stiffening. “You will want booth six, back wall. I will have the meal delivered there when it is done. And whatever you do, do not draw a weapon in here.”

Istara nodded her thanks and started for the back wall. Then she realized something. This place wasn’t set up like a cantina; it was set up like a bunker. Her initial assessment had been in error. At least seven heavy weapons were whirring in hidden and not so hidden positions, and not just repeaters. She was sure she saw the stubby muzzle of a grenade launcher poking out from a shadow. The whole front area of the cantina was a killing ground. But the patrons didn’t seem to care. They were talking, eating, drinking, just like any other cantina. Istara felt eyes on her, but no malice. And the place felt… safe. Which was odd. And then she saw him. His eyes were a pair of turbo laser barrels focused on her. She nodded to him and walked closer. When she was standing near the table she stopped. His hands were in plain sight, but his armor was openly visible. She wasn't sure what that meant, but she was not going to take any chances.

"Hey." She did not use his name. Istara grinned. “Interesting place.”

Will grinned right back. “Yep, peace through superior firepower.” He waved her to the seat and she looked at sit and then at him. He affected hurt pride. “Hey, I hide a mine in one seat, one. And that was when I was facing Oreana.”

"Any advantage you can get when facing someone like that." Istara snorted and sat. her voice was quiet. “You know about the lizards out front.” It wasn’t a question.

Will sighed. “Yeah, I got sloppy. One of them lived long enough to send a mayday and next thing I know I have a horde of lizards chasing me. Ah well…” If it bothered him to have so many bloodthirsty reptiles out for his head and the bounties on it, it was unapparent. “So… My Mom…?”

"I don’t know for sure." Istara sighed. “All I know is what I have been told. I was on Coruscant and it took forever to get through traffic.” Will nodded. Both stopped as a droid came up and deposited a pair of plates on the table. Istara looked at the meal, it looked good, but… “That is not what I ordered, is it?” Her voice was quiet.

Will looked at the plate in front of him and sighed. “Nope, and I didn’t order at all.” He pulled a small device out of a pocket and ran it over the meal, shaking his head at the readings they were displayed. Her ran it over Istara’s and shook his head again. “Well, the good news is they were only going to knock you out.”

“And yours?” Istara asked.

Will sighed. “Nerve toxin. One bite and I would have been on the floor, I would have been dead inside a minute. Idiots. It has been tried, a lot. So… Hmmm… Did the owners sell me out, was it the lizards or the bugs?”

"Will." Istara stared at the meal, and then at the door. “Do you trust me?”

"Every instinct I have says I shouldn't. But..." Will looked at her, and then sighed. “Yeah, I guess I do. I have no idea why. You saved my mom before, and you said something when we met on Tython about your life being mine. I don’t know much about your sect but Trugoy and his people could have tried to take me. And they didn’t. Yeah, I trust you.” Istara smiled thinly as with a quick flip of her wrist the plates switched places. She reached for her utensils. Will shook his head. “You have got to be kidding…” She took a bite and immediately convulsed, she was unconscious before she hit the floor.

<Some time later>

Istara woke to muted talking nearby. She listened. “…and we had no idea at all they had subverted out kitchen droid. All we can do is offer our sincerest apologies.”

"I am not the one you should be apologizing to." Will’s voice was cold. “You should be more careful. If she had died, I am betting her employers would have taken it seriously amiss.” Istara let out a groan that was only half faked, she hurt. “Istara…?” Will’s voice was gentle now.

"Yeah, I am here." Istara cracked an eye and groaned again. Her head hurt along with much of the rest of her body. “What happened?”

"You switched plates." Will said with a sigh. “You didn’t like the look of the goulash. Someone had tampered with mine. Thank goodness I carry a nerve toxin antidote.”

“And why do you carry that, sir?” The speaker was an elderly Duros whose uniform carried the insignia of a senior police official. Istara looked at him, and then around the room. It was a standard emergency private examination room. Another figure in a suit, probably the cantina’s owner from his words before stood nearby as well. He was a middle aged human with an inscrutable look. But the two armed guards at the door said this was not a normal hospital.

"I like to be prepared." Will sighed. “In my investigations, I have been exposed to nerve toxins before. It’s a standard part of a trooper’s kit anyway.”

"Sure it is." The policeduros stared at him for a moment before speaking slowly. “I want you off this station as soon as possible.”

"Right." Will nodded. “As soon as Istara is mobile, we are gone. Thank you for the ride.”

The policeduros looked from Will to Istara and was there a secretive smile on his face? “I hope you feel better Ma’am.” The he was gone, the two cops following him.

"Will?" Istara stared after him. “Do I want to know what that was about?”

"Lets just say..." Will shook his head. “I have some odd friends. Come on, let’s get out of here before the Trandoshans figure out which hospital we were sent to. We are close to the landing bays. I knew the Duros had a medical facility here, but I had never seen it.” He helped her up and she snarled as her legs shook. “The antidote to that toxin was fairly toxic in its own right. But you will mend.”

Istara took a moment to focus herself. As she did, she cast out with her mind. Nana?

Nan’s mind voice was angry now. Istara…? What the hell did you think you were doing? The force of the Insect’s mental shout had Istara shaking again.

Saving Will’s life. Istara’s voice was quiet. Now she spoke aloud just as quietly. “I’ll be fine, let’s go.”

"Okay." Will sighed. “They have trashed my ship. Oh well. It was ‘borrowed’ from a pirate anyway. Let them explain to him why they blew up his ship.”

“Ours is in bay twelve seventy six. Come on.” Istara led the way, her legs growing steadily less shaky as she moved. When they exited the building, they were in an alley. Will started off and Istara followed, but then he stiffened. Istara looked up and slumped as she saw the reason.

“Going somewhere, humans?” The Trandoshan who crouched in cover spoke softly, her rifle pointed at the strange pair. At least seven Trandoshans were couched in cover near the other end of the alley.

Istara looked at Will. Her voice was quiet. “If we let them hold us here, we will be awash in lizards in minutes.”

"I know." Will didn’t take his eyes off the lizards as he stood. “We should do something about that.”

"Okay." Istara sighed. “Shall we?”

Will grinned. “Lets.” With that, they were in motion.
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kalenath's Avatar

07.05.2012 , 05:58 AM | #10
It was incredible. Istara had fought besides beings of all kinds in her life. Bladeborn, Sith warriors, Sith inquisitors, bounty hunters, agents of imperial intelligence, conscripts, elite troopers… the list went on and on. But nothing she had ever encountered before was like fighting beside this man. It was as if they had been fighting beside one another for years. Without any communication, the two split up, drawing the fire from the Trandoshans in two directions. Istara dashed to cover behind a dumpster while Will... He just stood there in the middle of the alley, but not idle. Fire was sparking off his armor now, but he just drew a bead with his heavy pistol as calmly as if he were on a firing range and fired. The farthest Trandoshan, the one that had been activating a comlink, went down with a smoking hole in its cranium. The he started working his way back. He would aim, pause and fire, completely ignoring the shots that were landing all around him and on him.

Istara for her part was not idle either. While Will was drawing a large portion of the enemy’s attention, she was darting from cover to cover. Now she was close enough. With a wordless cry, she jumped close to three of the Trandoshans who were clustered behind heavy cover, pouring fire at Will. They recoiled as she landed in their midst, but then it was too late, her swords were in hand. The three dropped their blasters and pulled out swords, and Istara had to take a moment to breathe, she was not a hundred percent. Then the lizards were on her and she was dancing. Cut, parry, turn, slice, twist, evade, kick. Her snap kick caught one of her opponents unguarded and that lizard fell. It wasn’t like holo-vid, where hand to hand fights could go on for minutes. When a fully trained hand to hand combatant got a good solid hit on someone, with or without weapons, that person generally went down. The lizard wasn’t dead, but she wouldn’t be doing anything for a while until she regenerated the broken ribs.

Istara focused on her fight, even so often conscious of a shot whizzing by. These lizards were good, she had to give them that. She got a thrust through the guard of one, and while he was hurt, he continued to slash at her. One downside of using two blades was that it was harder to defend. Neither hand was as strong on its own as two hands on the same hilt would have been. But in Istara’s case, it really didn’t matter. For her, the best defense was a good offense and she had that in spades. She attacked with all the speed, grace and savagery that was Istara Sharlina Andal, warrior of the Bladeborn. The lizards didn’t last long.

As the last one fell off her blade right hand blade, she looked up to see all of the other lizards down, dead or… She blanched as Will walked up to the last one, the female Trandoshan she had disabled. The Trandoshan was trying to crawl away.

“Will?” Her voice was soft as he raised his blaster. “It’s done. Let’s get out of here.”

Will shook his head, his face remote as he looked at the lizard. The Trandoshan stared at him and spat. <You will die! Vengeance will be served!> Her hand came up with a hold out blaster and then it went flying as Will kicked her arm. From the snap, he broke it.

"Will..." Istara moved a bit closer. “Leave her, we have to get out of here. More will be coming and so will the cops.”

"You know..." Will’s voice was quiet. “Every time I have tried to leave them alive, I regret it. Coming after me, I have no problem with. But they went after my daughter.” He kicked the injured Trandoshan in the ribs and a sick crunching sound was heard. “I tried to be fair, I tried to play nice. They decided that I was humiliating them, and all I was doing was abiding by an oath.”

"Will..." Istara stared at him. “Come on…”

"Ignorant Trask clan fools." He didn’t seem to hear her as he spoke. “You started this. Your clan has decided to declare clan war on mine.” Now, the female Trandoshan looked…scared. “You began this. I will end it, if I have to walk over the corpses of your entire clan, I will. Until recently, I disabled your hunters nonlethally, but no longer. You go back and you tell your Elders that I declare <Vendetta>.” The Dosh word came out harsh and bitter. Istara hadn’t thought Trandoshan skin could turn that color. But Will wasn’t done. “Attack me as you wish, attack my daughter…? You target my friends and family? If I have to blow your entire clan off the surface of Dosha, I will now.” Istara wasn’t sure what was worst. The threat of mass destruction, or the cold matter of fact tone Will was using. He meant every word. “Tell your clan to prepare for obliteration.”

"No..." The Trandoshan stared at him. When she spoke her Basic was hushed, scared even. “You… You can’t… You would kill millions…Nestling, breeders…”

"I can't?" Will’s face could have been carved from stone. “Your clan decided to start this. Your clan decided to escalate this. Well, now your clan will reap the rewards of your actions.” He kicked her in the head and she went down in a heap. He kicked her again and then spat on the body. It seemed symbolic somehow. Then he turned on his heel and walked away.

Istara took a moment to be sure the still Dosh female was alive before following. As she followed the man in armor, she spoke softly. “What was that all about?” Will ignored her, and Istara followed in silence for a moment before trying again. “Will?”

"Istara..." Will looked at her and was silent for several minutes before speaking. “You may be of the few people in existence who might understand. It was about twelve years ago now, the Trask clan captured me on Dosh, I was there on business, hunting a slaver. They didn’t know who I was, I got sloppy, got ambushed and captured. Trandoshan interrogations are nothing like Imperial Imtelligence’s, so it was easy to resist. I met a Trandoshan who had been locked up in the dungeon for some time. His name is L’Trask.”

"What?" Istara blinked. “The healer on the... On your ship…?” She corrected herself. Speaking the Stormhawk’s name in strange places usually got lots of bad attention. She had met the Trandoshan and been impressed by his quiet skill, Trandoshanas was a whole were not known for manual dexterity, but somehow L’trask managed.

"Yeah." Will’s voice was somber now. “He had been imprisoned for being different. He follows the Trandoshan goddess, the Scorekeeper, but not in the normal way. He doesn’t hunt, he doesn’t kill. He heals. He counts his score by the number of lives he saves.”

"I met him." Istara nodded. “Makes sense.”

"To us, sure." Will snorted softly. “Not to the rest of his clan. I think they were on the verge of executing him when I was tossed in with him.” He sighed deeply. “Long story short, I escaped and took him with me. He asked me not to kill Trask clan Trandoshans, he still feels loyalty to them, even after all of this.” Istara looked at him and Will shrugged. “I did. I fought them for years, never killing them. I humiliated many of their hunters and for that, they want vengeance. But now… Things have changed.”

Istara nodded. “Nia.”

Will’s voice could have frozen a sun. “Nia. They wanted a war, they got one. Just not the one they wanted.” His grin was just as cold as his voice, and against her will, Istara shivered a bit. She had met Sith Lords who were less scary that this being. “Come on, the landing bays are ahead, my ship is gone, I hope you have one.”

Istara nodded. “It’s small, and we have three aboard, but we have space for another… One thing… I…Uh…” She broke off, unsure.

Will looked at her with part of his attention. Most of his gaze swept the area. “What?”

"I need to explain." Istara licked her lips, suddenly nervous. “You know that black carapace bugs you fought on Tralus?”

"They are not all gone, I know." Will nodded. “Yeah, some of them are working with Ravishaw and his people. I found traces of them in a trap that Ravishaw’s sect set for me.”

Istara sighed. “They are not… Aw Fierfek!” She stared in the near distance at the entrance to the landing bays and the horde of lizard forms that were standing near the hatch leading to the landing bays. “Aw crud…” On closer inspection, it wasn’t a horde, maybe twenty of them. But several of these carried weapons other than blasters, two had heavy repeaters and two others that Istara could see had sonic weapons and one carried a disruptor rifle.

"Idiots." Will sighed. “I will handle this…” He started off, but stopped when Istara laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Will...?" Istara’s voice was soft. “Don’t become what you fight.”

"Huh?" Will stared at her before sighing. “Too late, Istara. Already have.”

"No." Istara shook her head. “No you haven’t. I know the darkness that dwells inside your heart, it lurks in my own. I found a better way, so can you.”

"Istara..." Will shook his head. “This is all I am, all I know. I kill, it is what I do.”

"You know... I said almost the exact same thing once." Istara smiled at him. “You just need to find a better way. Come on… there is another way in, if messier…” She indicated a hatch marked ‘Sanitation’.

Will sighed. “Why is it that everywhere I go I wind up running through a sewer?”

<Back in the alley>

She was dying. She knew she was. The damage was too much, the kick from the sword wielder and then the kicks from the quarry had sent shards into her lung, and she recognized the feeling. But she had to… She had too… She was trying to crawl to where a comlink lay when a shadow loomed over her. She stared up into reptilian eyes. The Dask clan hunter sighed as he looked her over.

<You did badly.> His voice was dispassionate. <Scorekeeper will not be pleased.>

Her voice was scared now. <I die, but… my clan… my clan must be warned…>

<Do you want to die?> Came another voice and the female Dosh’s eyes went still as she saw the speaker, a human female in hunter’s garb.

The female Dosh’s voice was faint now. <You…?>

The huge male hunter squatted beside her heaving body. <Answer the question, Zinoa of the Trask.> His voice was almost kind.

The sole surviving member of her ambush shook her head. <I want to… I want to live… I must warn…>

<They were listening.> The human now was squatting nearby, but prudently out of reach. <They know. They sent you to your death. No aid will come for you, except us. But if you accept our help… You will be obliged to us.>

The wounded female shook her head. <I…> To do so would put her beyond clan, an outsider, a wanderer forever apart.

<Know this, young hunter.> The human shook her head. <You will not be alone, I too know what it is to be outcast.>

<I...> The female Trandoshan slumped. She didn’t want to die. <I am… Zinoa… of no clan… I accept your help.>

The human made a gesture and another Trandsohan form, this one small and female like Zinoa, came up, a medkit in hand. When she spoke, it was quiet. “I am Helen Regina. Well met.” Zinoa slumped as the others started tending her wounds. The physical pain she felt was minuscule compared to the gaping wound in her soul now. She was alone now. So why was Helen singing? Something about ‘Bind me not to the Pasture’? Zinoa fell asleep wondering.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here